The Little Paris Bookshop is the story of Jean Perdu, a French bookseller with a unique talent for telling his customers exactly what book they need to ‘cure’ them. Running his bookshop on a barge on the Seine in Paris, Perdu lives a monotonous life that has lost its colour. When he is forced to read a long-forgotten and unopened letter from a former lover, Perdu resolves to fight the demons of his past and find a way to move forwards in life.
This is more than just a story of long lost love. It is a story of friendship, discovering yourself, healing old wounds and, most of all, learning to love again. I am not the type to fold down the corners of pages or scribble in my books (you won’t be able to tell which books are new and which have been read on my shelves..) but for The Little Paris Bookshop, I pulled out a pack of sticky labels and started bookmarking my favourite pages. This book is full of beautiful quotes that really spoke to me and I imagine a lot of other readers felt the same way. Nina George has an amazing way of pinpointing exactly why I love to read and why love can sometimes be so painful. She captures what it is to be heartbroken, to mourn, to be lost.
I truly wish that characters like Jean Perdu existed as I’m sure the world would be a much better place. If only somebody could tell me exactly what book I needed every time I entered a bookstore! How much time I would save… Perdu is a simple man that you cannot help but fall in love with from the beginning. Not in a romantic way, but in the way you become very fond of someone unique. When we first meet him, he seems to have given up on finding new opportunities in life and is merely whiling the rest of the his life away. After all, Perdu means ‘lost’ in French! Then, he finds purpose again and becomes a man on a quest, a man searching for what has been missing from his life for the past twenty years. This is a story of self-discovery and you’re rooting for Perdu the whole time, praying he finds the peace he deserves. It is not often that I find characters I would truly like to meet and spend time with in real life, but Jean Perdu is definitely one of them.
When I first started reading this story, I was convinced that it was going to become my new favourite book. Having finished it, I’d still rank it pretty highly amongst all the books I’ve ever read but I couldn’t help but feel a burgeoning sense of disappointment as I delved deeper into this book. I don’t want to give any of this book’s secrets away but the love story wasn’t at all what I was expecting and some of the actions of a certain character were downright immoral. My problem with this character was that their actions were not really punished by the author, though to be fair, they were not condoned either. This was the only flaw of the novel I found with the novel but it did mean that I was left feeling incredibly frustrated around the middle passages. This is a real shame as both the beginning and the end contain some really beautiful passages of writing.
In the end, this book didn’t turn out to be the story I expected it to be at all. If you think that Jean Perdu hops on his barge and sails off to find his long lost lover, then you would be wrong. It is rare that a book of this genre surprises me but I don’t think anyone could predict the plot of The Little Paris Bookshop accurately before reading it.
Have you read The Little Paris Bookshop? If so, what did you think of it?
Also, if you have any other book recommendations for stories set in Paris, please do let me know!
Purchase The Little Paris Bookshop from The Book Depository here or from Amazon below: